Wiki Transclusion

'Transclusion' is a hyrid of linking and copying which is possible in some hypertext systems (and only in hypertext systems - it is strictly impossible on paper, unlike linking and copying). With transclusion, one inserts a special reference to some object (a hypertext document, image, data) into a document, and the hypertext browser handles it by retrieving the object and inserting it into the document. The name and a great deal of the theory come from Ted Nelson's seminal Xanad U project. The most powerful forms of transclusion can specify transclusion not just of entire objects, but of specific parts of representations of them.

HTML can do transclusion (simply but effectively) with a frame or (better) an iframe (or a simple img or object tag for images and other media); some desktop word processors can do it (powerfully but fragilely) with OLE or OpenDoc. Some programming languages (including C and shell script) can do something very like transclusion through things like '#include' or 'source' directives.

We might like Twic I to do transclusion; it could be a solution to page redirection (so the Farah Mendelsohn page might just say "A misspelling" and transclude the Farah Mendlesohn page) and might also have other uses.

Wiki Transclusion would be effected by a special kind of block, which might look like this:

< PageToTransclude Optionally followed by any old text, which might label the transclusion or stand in for it if it can't be done.

Twic I would respond to such blocks by transcluding the appropriate page (possibly with formatting to make it clear that it is a transclusion)

Wiki Transclusion (and stronger, more general forms, where arbitrary web objects can be transcluded) has been discussed elsewhere:

It would be vital to detect and escape from infinite loops in transclusion (for example, if a page transcluded itself, or one page which transcluded another page which transcluded the first page).

Category Wiki

Mon, 16 Jun 2003 13:39:14 GMT Front Page Recent Changes Message Of The Day